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What Is Coaching? What Can I Expect From a Coach?

The International Coach Federation says:

“Professional coaches provide an ongoing partnership designed to help clients produce fulfilling results in their personal and professional lives. Coaches help people improve their performances and enhance the quality of their lives.

Coaches are trained to listen, to observe and to customize their approach to individual client needs. They seek to elicit solutions and strategies from the client; they believe the client is naturally creative and resourceful. The coach's job is to provide support to enhance the skills, resources, and creativity that the client already has.”

Thus, coaching is a process to develop potential, enhance effectiveness and performance, and achieve goals, either in a one-on-one or group setting, in coaching sessions typically conducted over the phone. Coaching is a collaborative relationship to the point that some coaches call it “co-active coaching.

What are the Benefits from Coaching?

The benefits from coaching are as varied as the clients we coach. However, common benefits reported by coaching clients are:

  1. Greater clarity of what is really important. Sometimes this leads to better work/personal life balance
  2. Better decisions.
  3. Faster development. More rapid advancement.
  4. Higher standards; bigger goals. Achieve them faster and easier.
  5. More or better results (of all sorts, depending on what the client wants to achieve).
  6. Fewer problems.
  7. Make significant changes.
  8. Deal better with uncertainty.
  9. Improved communications ability and relationships.
  10. A support system previously unknown by the client.
  11. A simpler life, less stress.
  12. A stronger personal foundation
  13. An opportunity to:
    1. reveal and honor your whole self
    2. tap into your own inner knowing
    3. explore creative ideas, inklings, dreams
    4. articulate and develop a purposeful, focused vision
    5. experience the power and possibility that comes from real encouragement
    6. take action in the direction of your goals and dreams
    7. unlock your potential and maximize your performance
    8. create and sustain positive change
    9. celebrate your SELF as well as your accomplishments
Is coaching worth the cost?

What Can I Expect From a Coach?

See what the International Coach Federation, the International Association of Coaches and Coachville have to say, by clicking here.

Are you ready to see what coaching is firsthand? Give me a call (734-944-0794) to set up a "no obligation" initial coaching session or e-mail me.

Wondering if you are ready to be coached? Take a quick online "coaching readiness" quiz.

Coaching vs. Consulting?

Note the complete absence in all three lists of any identification of any substantive expertise on the part of the coach, in contrast to the role of a consultant. The client is responsible for, and gets all of the credit for the results. A consultant is typically expected to create some “deliverables”, based on the consultant’s specialized expertise in the subject matter area. There is some debate in the coaching profession whether coaching and consulting should be mixed, but the consensus is that it is acceptable and even appropriate to offer information when the client is willing to receive it, and when the coach explicitly announces that the role is being momentarily shifted from coach to consultant.

I am available for consulting where my expertise matches your needs, with a clear understanding up-front concerning the role I am to play, and what you expect to have done for you.

Nonetheless, in all circumstances, expect me, as your coach to:

  • ask powerful, provocative questions
  • point out potential obstacles and limitations
  • make big requests (which you will be free to agree to, reject, or agree in some modified form)
  • hold you accountable
  • NOT tell you what to do or specifically how to do it, as professional coaches believe that the answers come from within the client, with the revealing aided by the coach.

Coach vs. Therapist?

Note also the absence of any deep probing into the childhood experiences or other life traumas typical of psychological therapy or psychiatric treatments. Coaching is a strengths based practice, aimed at building on the client’s inherent strengths to achieve results, rather than curing deficiencies a person may have. The emphasis in a coaching relationship is on action, accountability and follow through.

For a complete discussion on the differences between coaching and consultation and therapy, see Frequently Asked Questions About Coaching, from the ICF site, Question number 13.

Ethical Guidelines

Professional coaches abide by Ethical Guidelines established by the International Coach Federation and the International Association of Coaches. I invite you to become familiar with the high standards most other professional coaches and I have pledged to maintain.

All information I obtain from my clients are held in confidence, in full compliance with the ICF’s Code of Ethics provisions regarding Confidentiality/Privacy:

“22) I will respect the confidentiality of my client's information, except as otherwise authorized by my client, or as required by law.

23) I will obtain agreement from my clients before releasing their names as clients or references, or any other client identifying information.

24) I will obtain agreement from the person being coached before releasing information to another person compensating me.” 

Who Hires a Coach?

Coaching clients are typically people who are already winners in the game of life, but who want to take their game to a new, higher level. There is often some precipitating event that prompts a person to start coaching, such as some frustration, some disappointment, some major project they want to be sure to be successful at, some obstacle they have been challenged by, etc. Nonetheless, coaching clients do not choose coaching to be “fixed”, but to be even better.